- The reason for this outcome has been the inconvenience which the subscribers faced during migration
- Blacking out of screens, no availability of a-la-carte channels pushed users towards DTH platforms
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) introduced new tariff mandate in the broadcasting industry because it wanted to bring transparency into the pricing and it did so at the cost of other factors like the convenience to the consumers. The ground reality is that because of the new tariff regime, subscribers of cable TV and DTH operators had to go through a lot of hassle, only to obtain the same channels at an even higher price. Although now the subscribers only pay for the channels they choose, when asked about the new directions, the consumers just gathered a lukewarm response. As the new regime sweeps over the industry slowly, the Local Cable Operators (LCOs) are starting to face adversity in the form of subscriber loss. In Kolkata, the subscribers of LCOs are beginning to migrate to DTH providers for more convenience and quality of service.
Up to 25% Subscribers Churn Out of LCOs in Kolkata
It is worth noting that in Kolkata, many reports had surfaced about incidents where consumers were facing blacked out screens even after migrating to the new tariff regime. Also, some customers reported that the cable operators were not giving the choice of a-la-carte channels and were forcing them to go with the channel packs which pushed them to switch over to DTH operators. As a result, some of the cable operators in Kolkata reported having churned out 10-15% subscribers, while other operators stated churning out 20-25% subscribers. Cable operators, on the other hand, blamed the MSOs (Multi System Operators) for not conducting the migration process properly which led to this outcome. The cable operators said that the websites of MSOs were crashing, and the process was not smooth which led to consumers believing that the LCOs were to be blamed for the hassled migration process.
Bengal Government Pushes for Education TVCs for Better Awareness
Last Week, in Kolkata, a meeting of the stakeholders and WB government was held where the officials discussed the issues being faced in the implementation of the new tariff regime. The stakeholders present in the meeting included a senior representative from Star India, MSO Hathway and Zee Group and a minister. The meeting revolved around the discussion of what these MSOs could do for the LCOs who have been convincing the consumers about the migration process to the new tariff regime. The government official also asked the MSOs about whether they could help with putting up education TVCs in Bengali explaining the consumers about the new Trai implementation. However, there was no conformational nod over the issue from the stakeholders, according to Indian Television.
Mixed Feelings of LCOs on New Tariff Implementation
Another thing to note is that before the Trai tariff implementation, the LCOs were unable to get channels from the broadcasters at proper rates which used to deny them the margins which the other bigger players were enjoying. This practice was discriminatory for the LCOs and the new tariff regime sought to end it so that even a small LCO could get rates for their channels which were not higher than what the other big players in the industry paid. However, when asked to the LCOs about it, especially in Kolkata, the cable operators were not necessarily pleased about how the implementation of the new Trai tariff regime panned out.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.